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Robotics Industry News

Zimmer Group expands its digitalization strategy with new products

Zimmer Group US, Inc.

Master gateway and software tool for component commissioning

The market is currently in constant motion, especially in the field of lightweight robots. An increasing number of manufacturers and models are enhancing the field of automation with robot models for highly diverse tasks, and the interfaces are just as varied as the variants of robots themselves. A common authoritative interface standard does not exist and is currently not yet in sight. Zimmer Group recognized this challenge early on and, as a pioneer in the industry, presented its mechatronic grippers in 2013, based on the IO-Link standard. In 2016, the PrepBox for parameter assignment, testing and service followed and just one year later a multi-functional and omni-communicative, end-of-arm layer model was introduced as a technology prototype.

Since Zimmer Group intends to keep pushing forward with the simplification and cost optimization of industrial production, it will launch the “Smart Communication Module (SCM)” together with the “guideZ” commissioning software at the end of the year. These enable both easy parameter configuration and commissioning while also permitting the advantages and functions of IO-Link components to be utilized by robots – robots which only allow digital communication. 

The SCM as a master gateway is available in two versions - for control cabinet installation (protection class IP20) or for direct fitting on the robot flange (IP54). Both versions are designed for connecting two IO-Link components and can program the individual parameters of the components. In this process, they continuously take on the implementation of the bus protocol from digital I/O to IO-Link. During parameter configuration they also require a temporary Ethernet connection, though. Thus, despite the relatively limited capabilities that many robots have regarding the digital I/O transmission infrastructure, it is possible to use virtually all functions of highly advanced Zimmer Group IO-Link components.

The second new product that will be released is the “guideZ” software tool. 

“guideZ” is a software tool for commissioning components quickly and extremely easily. It enables user-guided implementation and commissioning for truly anyone. In this process, users can switch between wizard or beginner mode and expert mode. The parameter data of this 7-step commissioning process can be quickly and easily adapted to any PLC control or even small controls – this is usability by THE KNOW-HOW FACTORY!

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